Advanced theater makes history with first place sweepstakes award


photo courtesy of Evan Sardarian

A group of four advanced theater students celebrate their award after competing in the category “Shakespeare Villains” with a scene from Othello.

Megan Overbey, Writer

CHS’s advanced theater class competed on April 18 at the DTASC competition in San Fernando Valley. The DTASC festival is the Drama Teacher’s Association of Southern California that happens twice a year where students from all across southern California come together to perform scenes to compete in specific categories. The spring competition is reserved for Shakespeare, however DTASC ensures every year to be fresh and exciting with their unique choice of categories, ranging from “Villains” to “Women in Disguise”.

With DTASC being one of their few competitions of the year, the group put many hours into their preparation.

“We started working at the end of January, beginning with taking the script and cutting it down ourselves,” junior and theater member Sydney Hack said. “We then worked with our group and our other classmates to put together the blocking and find what works the best for the skit.”

For DTASC festival, it requires all of the schools to show their skills with minimal outside aid. Students chose their material, constructed their scripts, and directed the scene with their own visions and acting abilities to create a polished finished product. DTASC rules also are very specific, and over the years have led to many creative approaches for the creation of the scenes.

“With all of our scenes, we could not use any costumes, the only props allowed were the use of four chairs, and sound affects had to all be created either vocally, or with our hands and feet,” junior and theater member Monica Lampaya said.

The trademark “chair magic” and well-rehearsed harmonized underscoring help contribute to the intensity of each unique scene. With every round, actors give it their all but also have to balance conserving their energy throughout the day. Over a 15 hour day in total, the actors have to push to keep their focus and motivation high throughout each stage of the competition. All groups initially compete in the first and second round, and based on the scores given by the judges, groups are selected to move on to semi-finals, and then the top ten carry on to finals.

“The day was extremely long, but very fun,” said Lampaya. “Our day started at 4:00 am, driving up to San Fernando Valley on a very hot day. There were a total of four rounds, which made it important that we keep our energy up. Throughout the day we saw a lot of great scenes and met some very talented people.”

All of the groups put in a lot of work in the hopes of seeing their scenes make it to the final round of competition, aiming to walk away with a trophy.

“The other schools we competed against were all extremely talented and very well prepared, but Carlsbad did great,” Lampaya said. “All of our scenes except one made it to finals, and overall as a school we walked away with the first place sweepstakes award.”

Carlsbad competed in many categories, and ended up with a 1st place award in the 10 person scene from Titus Andronicus in the category “Play’s the Thing,” 3rd place sets/lights/graphics, 3rd place court costume, 4th place with an Othello scene in the category “Villains,” 4th place with a Macbeth scene in the category “All in a Day’s Work,” 5th place with the featured play scene “King Lear,” Honorable Mentions to both audition monologues (top 10 out of a 100 and the only school to have two in the finals) and Honorable Mention to a scene from Twelfth Night in the category “Women in Disguise.”

These accomplishments led to the school’s overall 1st place Sweepstakes award, the first time Carlsbad has ever received such an honor. Out of 55 schools, Carlsbad came out at the very top and was recognized for their hard work and superior achievements in their individual categories, and together as a complete theater class ensemble.

“In addition to doing so well, we had a great time bonding with our class and even the competitors from other schools,” junior and theater member Annika Johnson said. “It was very cool to see what other people chose to do with their scenes and how they interpreted Shakespeare’s material. In the final round, everyone is just in high spirits, being happy to be surrounded by such great talent.”